Facebook interested in buying mobile chat app WhatsApp?

The social network has been in talks to acquire the popular cross-platform app, sources tell TechCrunch.

WhatsApp Messenger running on iOS. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

WhatsApp, the maker of a popular cross-platform mobile chat program, has been in talks to be acquired by Facebook, sources tell TechCrunch.

TechCrunch had no information about a possible price range or how advanced the talks might be.

WhatsApp said: "The reported story is a rumor and not factually accurate. We have no further information to share at the moment."

Founded in 2009, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company provides a smartphone app for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian, and Windows Phone that delivers text messages, as well as images and audio and video messages. The ad-free app reportedly has about 100 million daily users, with a presence in 250 countries on a variety of platforms.

The startup noted all the way back in October 2011 that it was serving up 1 billion messages per day: "Just how much is 1 billion messages? That is 41,666,667 messages an hour, 694,444 messages a minute, and 11,574 messages a second," the company wrote in a blog post at the time. The company added that it was a "small step closer towards our goal: providing a great mobile messaging system for a global market, regardless of your handset."

The WhatsApp Messenger app came under criticism recently from security and mobile researchers who alleged security risks based on its authentication process. Several anonymous bloggers called the process a "security nightmare," saying the app leaked data collected off the device when it's being sent to servers. A research paper also concluded that the local database storage encryption could be decrypted.

Updated Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. PT with WhatsApp statement.

 

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